About a month after finishing my first solo 100km race I emailed my coach and told him what I wanted to do next. I was sure he would mail me back and tell me that I was getting ahead of myself. That such a goal was way too big to think about, especially considering I hadn’t exactly blitzed my first 100km race. What with the 50 odd km of vomiting and slow movement in the middle, it was hardly a raging success? Instead he replied with “Let’s do it, and if you really want to do that then let’s work towards the big one! What’s the saying? “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars”?”
You can see why he’s a great coach, right?
And then I got scared..
It’s one thing to fantasise in your head about doing these big crazy runs, but when someone turns around and says “Sure, you should do that” and you suddenly go from daydreaming to actually working towards it, sinking your time and energy into it and sacrificing events with friends and family to make it happen, it can be a little confronting. More so, because this particular race is a long term project. It’s not a case of pay your entry, train and go run it. In order to get an entry I need to accrue the required qualifying points and then be one of the lucky few picked from the lottery.
On top of all the qualifying and entry malarky there is the whole “imposter syndrome” thing to deal with. I’ve talked about it plenty before, the feeling not good enough to do these big amazing races that “real trailrunners” do and the struggle with being a slow runner. The thing is, making it to the finish line of Ultra Trail Australia 100 taught me that although I’m not the fastest, I am strong and in the races that I am drawn to, that counts almost as much as speed.
I’m also blessed with a husband who has always had a “give it a try” attitude. When, at the start of my discovery of moving my body, I asked what he thought of me doing Tough Mudder on two consecutive days, he looked at me like I was mad but replied with “Sure, if that’s what makes you happy”. That pretty much is the theme for us, if one of us wants to do something crazy, like paraglide the french alps for a week, or run around the bush for 8hrs on a training run, the other is there to support them in doing so, which with three kids is important.
I haven’t always been the “just give it a go” type person, for a long time I stuck to what I knew I could do and what wouldn’t cause stress or require the help of others, but I’ve come to realise, with the help of my husband, my friends, my coach and my experiences in trailrunning and life, that life is too short to not give stuff a try and if things don’t work out? Well, it will still be an adventure.
So, what is my big scary goal?
In 2018 I’m hoping to get an entry into The Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 100mile trail race. Whilst this isn’t exactly a secret, it’s not something I have really put out there because, well, it scares me! Despite all I’ve said above there is still that part of me that worries that people will look at this and think “Really? You really think someone like you could do that race?” Not to mention that it is 100miles (not kilometres!!), with insane technical trails that scale ridiculous amounts of climbing and descent! But I’m getting ahead of myself, because first I need to qualify, and that in itself is scary!
With completing UTA100, I garnered myself 5 UTMB qualifying points. To qualify I need 15points from a maximum of 3 races (have I lost you yet?). Getting these points is no easy feat. My coach, Matt from Judd Adventures, and I sat down and poured over the qualifying races, trying to find ones that I would be capable of finishing, within the cut offs. Qualifying races for UTMB are typically steep and 5 point races are 100km or longer. So, this year, 2017, I am looking at two 100km races to get my required points – that in itself is both exciting and scary!
My first qualifying race will be the Northburn 100k on the south island of New Zealand. With 6000m+ elevation gain, not to mention battling the elements of heat, wind and cold (it has snowed on top of the mountain in past years) it will definitely be an adventure! Then in November I hope to take on the Alpine Challenge 100k, running through the Victorian Alps.
Its’ kind of scary even just putting it out there that I have this long term plan, because what if I fail? What if it goes wrong? A DNF, a missed cutoff, an injury, they could all throw a spanner in the works. But hey, I figure at least I’m giving it a red hot try.
So, over the next year, I will be climbing lots more mountains, trying to improve my mountain legs on both the ups and the downs. I will be getting ridiculously excited about each step forward, towards my big goal and if I don’t qualify or don’t get a lottery entry then I have a back up plan, but hopefully these dreams will come true and if they don’t? Well at least I will have had one hell of an adventure in trying.
What’s your current, big, scary goal?